As a parent of a Rhinelander elementary school student, I attended the holiday music program in December. I was pleased to see the large turnout of parents, grandparents and members of the community who came to enjoy the performance. The students did a wonderful job working together, singing holiday songs, playing instruments and speaking before the audience. The program was wisely crafted by the licensed music teachers who work with the students on a weekly basis.
Were the referendum to fail, potential reductions to district offerings include elimination of licensed music teachers at the elementary level. Classroom teachers, who are not trained in music, would be expected to teach the music curriculum. As a life-long musician, pianist, organist and parent, I am extremely concerned about this reduction and feel that it is critical that licensed music teachers remain in the elementary schools, teaching music to our children.
Music and the arts are an important part of the curriculum. Participation in music has been shown to improve and help students achieve in the academic areas of math, reading and science. Through participation in music programs, students develop critical thinking, creative problem solving and effective communication skills. Additionally, students must learn to work together as a team when participating in music classes. Students who attend schools with high-quality music and arts programs perform better than students who attend schools with poor or lacking music and arts programs.
Music connects us and brings us together, as evidenced by the multi-generational crowd in attendance at the holiday music concert. I want our children in Rhinelander to continue to have access to a strong music program, taught by licensed music teachers starting at the elementary level. Vote YES on Rhinelander’s school referendum on Feb. 19. Rhinelander’s children deserve it.
Sarah Marx, Rhinelander